The positive power of negative advice


A client once asked which new metrics they should be looking at. My answer: reduce your number of metrics, don’t look for new ones. You’ll gain clarity. And save time.

In marketing and in life, we’re often interested in more.

More strategic initiatives. More creative ways in. More things to do. More ideas, hobbies, tasks, plans. There’s nothing wrong with doing more, except when it steals time from what matters.

On that, Nassim Taleb once said:

“Positive advice (what to do) is often seen as more valuable than negative advice (what not to do).”

I love the idea of labelling advice as positive or negative.

The cult of busyness is all around us and behind many bullshit jobs. Knowing what not to do can help deal with it. It can reduce clutter, so we can spend more time with what creates real meaning and results.

The metrics that link to business outcomes. The activities that help deliver against those metrics, instead of marketing hubris. The things we want to design our lives around. Stuff we’re often ‘too busy to do’.

In case of doubt, start with what not to do. Go from there.

Categorized as Life